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ERIC Number: EJ817417
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Dec
Pages: 42
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0285
The Allure of Equality: Uniformity in Probabilistic and Statistical Judgment
Falk, Ruma; Lann, Avital
Cognitive Psychology, v57 n4 p293-334 Dec 2008
Uniformity, that is, equiprobability of all available options is central as a theoretical presupposition and as a computational tool in probability theory. It is justified only when applied to an appropriate sample space. In five studies, we posed diversified problems that called for "unequal" probabilities or weights to be assigned to the given units. The predominant response was choice of "equal" probabilities and weights. Many participants failed the task of partitioning the possibilities into elements that justify uniformity. The uniformity fallacy proved compelling and robust across varied content areas, tasks, and cases in which the correct weights should either have been directly or inversely proportional to their respective values. Debiasing measures included presenting individualized and visual data and asking for extreme comparisons. The preference of uniformity obtains across several contexts. It seems to serve as an anchor also in mathematical and social judgments. People's pervasive partiality for uniformity is explained as a quest for fairness and symmetry, and possibly in terms of expediency. (Contains 6 tables and 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A